I was not one of those kids with my nose in a book, destined to write them because hell, I lived in them more than the real world. Wasn’t me. I watched a lot of TV shows and movies—hundreds and hundreds. All the men on my father’s side were screenwriters. I grew up watching my great-grandfather and his brothers smack each other around in the Stooge shorts. Visual, physical comedy. Kids in my schools were actors, and it was (and is) a regular occurrence to have the streets in my neighborhood turned into film sets. It’s what I knew. That was real life for me!
I did love books, though. My mom used to read to me all the time when I was young. Mystery books, ghost stories, fantasy—all sorts. But reading myself? It was too slow. Too much effort, I guess. I used to buy books, even, but I didn’t get through them.
One of my teachers when I was about 8 or 9 years old made us write short stories. Truthfully, I didn't like her, and I wasn't happy about it, but I didn't have much of a choice. She gave me a prompt about how a cow got its spots. It was about a “ranbow spotted babby cow.” I could not spell for shit, and it was not my finest work.
would never ruin the books. That year, Prisoner of Azkaban came out, I watched it, read it, and then...I was stuck. I needed more!
So, I did the logical thing: At age 13, I started writing a book. It ended up 30,000 words. A tiny novel. It was part of a trilogy. I’d put a lot of effort in, and that was when I knew I had to do something with it—that I had to become an author. All because I was waiting, and I wanted to live in another story like I had in Harry Potter.
Hey, whatever gets you going.
Sometimes, I feel like an imposter. I wasn’t one of those kids—I didn’t live in books until I was 12. Why should I get to write when I didn’t always love to read? When I don’t read every day? There were many years of my life where I would happily say that I hated reading. Now here I am. I get funny looks when I say that I hated reading, and yet, now I’m a writer. I still fall out of reading and will read only a book or two in a year. Other times, I’ll read several in a week. But even so, I’m still writing books, and I love to read when I do. I just didn’t grow up with the habit, but I know what I am, no matter how I came to be.
Does that make me any less of a writer? No, it doesn’t. You don’t have to fit the standard to be something. You just have to be it. It doesn’t matter if you find your passion at 4 or 44 or if you spent years obsessed or 6 months. You’re not an imposter. You’re not any less. All that matters is that you’re doing it, whatever it is. That’s the only difference between those that are and those that are not.
So, what are you?